Act on Illegality of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It
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The Act on the Illegality of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It (Czech: Zákon o protiprávnosti komunistického režimu a o odporu proti němu, zákon č. 198/1993 Sb.) is an act passed on July 9, 1993 in the Parliament of the Czech Republic. This act declared the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia (February 25, 1948 – November 17, 1989) as illegal and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia as a criminal organisation. Most of the act is formulated as a resolution.
The resolution made the Czech Republic the first former Eastern Bloc country or successor state to officially condemn its Communist regime.
Text of the Act in English
of the 9th July 1993
on the Illegality of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It
The Parliament of the Czech Republic passed this act:
Aware of its duty as a democratically elected parliament to cope with the communist regime, the Parliament of the Czech Republic:
pronounces that the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, its leadership and members are responsible for the way of governance in our country between 1948 – 1989, especially for the purposeful destruction of traditional principles of European civilisation, for deliberate violations of human rights and freedoms, for moral and economic decline accompanied by judicial crimes and terror carried out against those with different opinions, for the replacement of a functional market economy by a directly controlled economy, for the destruction of traditional principles of property rights, for the abuse of education, science and culture for political and ideological purposes, for inconsiderate destruction of nature, and declares that in its subsequent activity the parliament will honour this act.
(1) The communist regime and those who promoted it actively,
a) deprived citizens of any possibility to freely express their political view, forced them to hide their opinions on the situation in the state and society and forced them to publicly express consent with issues that they considered a lie or a felony, all this was carried out by persecution or threat of persecution against themselves and their families,
b) systematically and constantly breached human rights, particularly those of specific political, social and religious groups of citizens,
c) breached fundamental principles of a democratic state and rule of law, international agreements and its own acts and therefore practically placed the will and interest of the communist party and its representatives above law,
d) used instruments of power against its citizens, particularly: - executed them, murdered them and kept them in prison or labour camps; during investigation and at the time of imprisonment it used brutal methods against them including physical and psychological torture and exposed them to inhuman suffering,
- arbitrarily deprived them of property and breached their property rights,
- prevented them from performing their occupation or function and from acquiring higher or expert education,
- prevented them from leaving the country freely and coming back freely,
- called them to military service in Auxiliary Technical Battalions and Technical Battalions for an unlimited period of time,
e) to achieve its goals it did not hesitate to perpetrate crimes, made possible unpunishable perpetration of crimes and provided those who had perpetrated these crimes and persecution with unjustified benefits,
f) allied with a foreign power and since 1968 maintained this situation by supporting the occupying armed forces of this power.
(2) Those who promoted the communist regime as functionaries, organizers and instigators in the political and ideological sphere are co-responsible for the crimes and other facts mentioned in subsection 1.
(1) Particularly with regard to facts mentioned in § 1 subsection 1 of this act, the regime based on communist ideology, which governed the state and fates of its citizens in Czechoslovakia since 25 February 1948 until 17 November 1989, was criminal, illegitimate and is worthy of contempt.
(2) The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was a criminal and contemptible organization; this also applies to other organizations based on its ideology, which carried out activity with the aim to repress human rights and the democratic system.
Resistance of citizens against this regime, whether expressed by individuals or by groups in the form of revolt or other activity, whether expressed in the territory of the state or abroad, even though allied with a foreign democratic power, was legitimate, just, morally justified and is worthy of respect.
All those who were unjustly persecuted by the communist regime and did not take part in activities mentioned in § 1 subsection 1 of this act, deserve sympathy and moral satisfaction.
The period from 25 February 1948 until 29 December 1989 will not be taken into account while assessing the statute of limitation for crimes, if any person was not convicted due to political reasons incompatible with the main principles of the rule of law and the democratic state.
This act comes into effect on the 1st August 1993.
Uhde m. p. (Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies)
Havel m. p. (President of the Republic)
Klaus m. p. (Prime Minister)
Challenge of the Act before the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
After passing the Act a group of communist Deputies (MPs) challenged the Act before the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic and demanded that the Act be declared as unconstitutional and voided. The Constitutional Court, however, ruled that the Act was not in violation with the constitutional order of the Czech Republic and refused to void it. According to the Constitutional Court although the Act is more a political declaration than ordinary act regulating rights and duties, it is necessary to cope with the regime and it can be made in the form of statute if the Parliament wishes so. Furthermore, this is not the only "political declaration act" in the Czech Republic's legal system, there are more (e. g. Lex Masaryk, Lex Štefánik and later passed Lex Beneš and Lex Havel).
- Political Freedoms and Democratically Elected Institutions in Czech Republic, European Commission, 18/07/2013
- Full text of the act (in Czech)